were still in their teens when releasing their debut full length Treatment 5
. Reviews at the time were generally positive citing the bands youthful age and their competent if not revolutionary take on Rancid
/ Green Day
. At the same time singer/guitarist Devon Williams
was becoming increasingly confrontational with audiences openly baiting his own fans and berating what he perceived as fashion chasing in the scene.
There is a video
from the time of the band supporting Guttermouth
. The first thing you notice is how youthful and defiant Osker
were and the potential these pop-punk ditties possessed. In it a babyfaced Williams is openly at war with the crowd and refuses to play the part of the compliant opening act. His performance is a times heroic, at times cringe inducing and had i been in the crowd at the time i would have probably been angered myself but to his credit he stuck to his guns. Fortunately he had a plan to disengage from the scene and fulfil the bands potential: Idle Will Kill
's debut album represents that time when your younger brother/sister is a complete pain the ass but secretly quite funny then Idle Will Kill
represents the moment that same younger sibling borrows your CDs, becomes cool and starts to hang out with you. All the potential the band had alluded to previously is funnelled into this rough gem resulting 11 tracks to remember. The band sound confident in their delivery and are not afraid to break out of the mould introducing time changes and varied structures.
The lyrics detail teenage angst in a heart-on-sleeve way and,though the delivery may not be to everyone's liking, the unpretentious backdrop created by the 3 piece allows for the words to be twisted and turned on their head for maximum impact. "If she only knew my wrongs things would be going right" is one of the simple lines thrown in to devastating effect. the resulting album represents emotional punk at its best long before the term had coined to sell records and magazines.
The album starts in intimate fashion with only a strummed guitar to support the lamented vocal line. A piano and the drums join in to lend a hand as the song builds up into a punchy opening track where Williams spits the legendary line "When were you schooled in technicalities, and I didn't know i made friends with fucking rock critics". It all ends after just 1.16 and you find yourself hooked for more.
This sets the tone as tracks like Strangled
, The Body
, Piece By Piece
persist with the uncompromising drumming but allow for an introspective vocal delivery. Many of these tracks clock in at under 3 minutes long but their punchy melodies demand to be sung over and over again. Ultimately Idle Will Kill
is an angsty album but there is an underlying feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel is within sight.Osker
planted a few handpicked slower tempo treasures to contrast the breakneck pace and it seems fans of the bands previous efforts particularly objected to these moments. The irony is that songs like Disconnect, Disconnect
and (the best track they ever recorded) Kinetic
present many of the highlights on the album showing a more mature outlook and a flair for sudden shifts in dynamic.
This is one of those albums where all the parts of the puzzle fall into perfect place. The drumming never oversteps the mark acting as an anchor for the rest of the band to spark off of, the guitar and bass parts are equally as inspired when they are planted firmly in the driver seat as when they allow the vocals to take the lead. Devon Williams
</strong> is not a phenomenal guitarist but that is besides the point when you are a great songwriter and his structural ideas and ear for a hook allow him to carve instant anthems.
's official website Osker
are described as having: 'the ability to piss off everyone around them including their fans, fellow bands, their record company, not to mention the entire nation of Canada
' as well as earning the the title: 'most hated band on Epitaph
' This is surprising information to reveal in an official band bio, even for a punk label. Having not witnessed Los Angeles scene and relying on limited evidence from the time its hard to decipher how much of the statement above is true. What i do know is that Osker
were a special band and Idle Will Kill
is an outstanding record.
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